Day 21.

Day 21 - Kenilworth, IL, to Ann Arbor, MI

Run - 3 Dune Challenge, Indiana Dunes State Park, IN

From the eyes of Nico.

I have been shortsighted when it comes to logistics twice so far on this road trip.

The first time occurred on Day 4. We were in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and had made our way to the ski resort with the intention of riding the tram to the top in order to run 13.4 miles back down. I had gone so far as to contact the manager of the ski resort, who graciously gave us the free tickets to ride the tram. Logistically, everything was well thought out and accounted for. Except I forgot to contextualize it. I forgot to consider the implications of being at 10450 feet of altitude in the Tetons in mid-June. The top was, of course, covered by a few feet of snow, completely preventing us from running our intended route.

Fast-forward until today, July 4th, the second best holiday of the year (Thanksgiving takes the top spot, obviously). We are leaving Chicago to run in Indiana Dunes State Park, home to a beautiful fine white sand beach that we intend to have a picnic and frolic at after racing through the draining 3 Dune Challenge. Logistically, everything seems to be thought through perfectly. Except, once again, I forget to consider context. I forget to consider that we are reaching a beautiful beach in an otherwise lackluster (sorry Indiana) state at noon. I forget to consider that it is July 4th…

And so, once again, I feel like a bit of an idiot as I drive up to a line of cars that would take two hours to get to front of. Once again, I feel like a bit of an idiot as the woman working at the visitor’s center explains that all of the parking spots have been filled since 9:30am this morning and that it would be a terrible idea to attempt to drive into the park. But, once again, I feel a bit better when I realize we are runners and our legs can get us where our wheels cannot.

And in the end, everything works out fine. Charlie, Bailee, and I run past the 1.5 mile long line of cars, burn our quads off powering through the 3 Dune Challenge, scream and yell our way down the final 192-foot tall dune to the water’s edge, and then meander our way up the beach and back to the visitor’s center, where we meet up with Sadie, pull out our lunch, hop in the car, and head on to Ann Arbor, Michigan.

So, conventional July 4th? No. Enjoyable July 4th? I’d say so.

Facts/stats of the day:

Miles driven: 276

Miles run: 18.8

Elevation gained (feet): 1385

Average pitch of final dune: 43 degrees

Percent of caregivers with a household income of $50000 or less: 41%